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(Courtesy Photo Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania)

As of Nov. 1, Pennsylvania families can apply for this year’s round of Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program funds to help get through the winter heating season.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced Oct. 27 that the state has received $185.5 million in federal funds for the program this year, which represents an increase of nearly $30 million over the 2015-2016 LIHEAP season.

“Making sure all Pennsylvanians are safe and healthy is my top priority,” said Wolf.

“It is essential that we ensure that every Pennsylvanian has a warm home and I encourage anyone who needs this assistance to apply through COMPASS or at their local county assistance offices.”

The program is available to both renters and homeowners who meet the income eligibility criteria. And because the support comes in the form of a grant, individuals do not have to repay assistance. The funds go directly to their utility company or home eating fuel provider.

In addition to providing help with winter utility costs, LIHEAP’s crisis program is also now open. The crisis program focuses primarily on seniors, the disabled, or families with young children.

In order to qualify for help from the federal government and/or state government funded LIHEAP crisis assistance program, some or all of the following must typically be met:

•The applicant needs to be threatened with disconnection of their utility or heating service. They may have also received a shut-off or disconnection notice from their utility or gas provider.

•The individual applying for financial aid must currently have their heating or utility service disconnected, or lack heat in their home or apartment. In these cases, they will need help in reactivating their utility or heating service.

•If someone is running out of fuel during the winter, whether heating oil, kerosene, propane, wood, or other sources, then the emergency assistance program may be able to help in those situations. Usually the individuals must have less than a 10-day supply of bulk fuel left.

•The family or individuals must have either broken, inoperable or unsafe heating equipment in their primary residence.

To qualify, households must have incomes no greater than 150 percent of federal poverty guidelines. For an individual, that equates to $17,820 per year. For a family of four, the limit is $36,450.  Each additional person in the household adds $6,240 to the maximum income allowed for eligibility.

 

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